|Photo credit: mynameisrichard on Flickr|
In response to my post on whether or not writers should delay their gratification, I received many interesting and thoughtful answers. A common theme I noticed, however, was that most of us agree there isn’t a straightforward one-size-fits-all answer.
It goes without saying that when it comes to things of the writerly nature, answers will vary depending on the writer/ manuscript/ season/ day of the week/ what you ate for breakfast/ how many ferrets you have (ok, maybe not those last few). But delayed gratification is interesting because, for writers at least, it’s mostly inevitable.
Regardless of whether you choose indie or traditional publishing, a lot of work goes into a novel before you get anything in return. Writers spend years honing their skills before anything they write is anywhere near publishable. Writers work without pay and give up their precious free time to work on that novel/ screenplay/ poem/ short story/ what-have-you.
So at the beginning of a writer’s journey, at least, there is no escaping delayed gratification.
The question we truly face as writers, with the rise of indie publishing upon us, is how long to continue to delay that gratification. How long, for example, should you edit before querying agents or uploading to Amazon?
This is where matters start to get tricky. There isn’t a magic number we can point to and say after x-amount of hours, words or books you’re ready to be published (although there is a theory that in order to master any skill or subject, you have to spend 10,000 hours developing said skill, but that’s another matter entirely).
The best thing writers can do is practice some patience while honing their skills. Take your time to perfect your story, to learn about the craft, to become a better writer. Make publishing decisions carefully and take all the time you need to make the decision that’s best for you and your career as a writer.
Keep calm and carry on. Seriously. Whenever you start to feel rushed, take a deep breath and remember that time is working for you. Don’t rush the process.
What do you think? Is delayed gratification just part of the process? Can we (or should we) try to avoid it?